She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted.

The exact words attributed to Mitch McConnell are actually “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Yes, of course, some are dismayed by what has become a “left-wing meme.” However, leaving that rather flat, dismissive assessment aside, McConnell’s words reveal some rather unpleasant expectations of women—even today in the “first world.”

Seems we are all in the same moment of time, but not the same moment of history. Afterall, she was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted.

The gentlemen of the US Senate seem to be trapped in the plot of a late 18th- or 19th-century novel in which the heroine is warned by the more “naturally” intelligent men around her, all of whom condescend to bestow upon her the gift of a rational explanation. Nevertheless, (or always less than?) this woman continues to behave like a man and persist in her madness, skirting the very margins of acceptable “feminine” conduct.

A few examples?

Maria; Or, The Wrongs of Woman



Vanity Fair

Mary Barton

Jane Eyre

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

The Awakening

Here is Senator Warren reading Coretta Scott King’s letter: